Motorists need to drive defensively to avoid motorcycle crashes
May is here, and with it is the beginning of peak motorcycle season in Texas and Oklahoma. There's nothing like enjoying the open road on a bike — but unfortunately, motorcyclists are also highly vulnerable to serious and life-threatening injuries in accidents. According to the Oklahoma Public Safety Office, motorcycle accidents reach their peak from June through September, especially on Saturdays and Sundays.
That's why, as we approach the summer months, we're participating in Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. As attorneys who represent injured bikers, we've seen time and again the life-altering consequences of a motorcycle accident, and we are committed to fighting for accountability and justice for victims and their families.
Motorcyclists are at far greater risk than car drivers and passengers
Even with protective gear such as helmets and leather clothing, bikers have much less protection in the event of a crash than people inside enclosed vehicles. Bikers are four times as likely to be injured and 28 times more likely to be killed in an accident than drivers and passengers in cars, trucks, and SUVs, according to national data. Bikers make up 14% of traffic fatalities, even though motorcycles are just 3% of all registered vehicles.
Drivers need to share the road with bikers
While road safety is a shared responsibility, the greater responsibility falls on operators of larger vehicles who can inflict more damage in the event of a collision. That's why the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is running a statewide public awareness campaign called "Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles." The campaign urges motorists to pay attention and look twice for bikers, especially at intersections.
Some ways motorists can safely share the road with bikes include:
- Always check mirrors and blind spots before turning or changing lanes. A motorcycle's smaller size makes it easy to slip into a car's blind spot, which can lead to sideswipe collisions or bikes being forced off the road.
- Look over your shoulder for passing motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians before opening a car door into the lane.
- Maintain a safe following distance, at least 3 to 4 seconds, behind a motorcycle. Remember, a bike has a much shorter stopping distance than a car, and motorcyclists often slow down by downshifting instead of braking so there aren't always brake lights to provide warning.
- Always give motorcycles full lane width. A motorcycle may physically take up less space on the road than a car, but bikers still need the whole lane in order to safely maneuver around hazards.
- Check twice for motorcycles when making a left turn, and yield the right of way to an oncoming bike just as you would yield to an oncoming car.
- Avoid all distractions behind the wheel, including texting, cell phone use, and other distractions such as eating and drinking. Distracted drivers are a threat to everyone else on the road, but they're even more dangerous when driving near motorcycles because a bike is easier to overlook than a car.
If you've been hurt in a motorcycle wreck, we can help
All it takes is one careless driver to change a biker's life forever. You may be looking at sky-high medical bills, lost income, and numerous other costs. And the insurance companies are no help; they lean into the stereotype of motorcyclists as irresponsible and reckless operators, because that's how they save money. We know how to level the playing field and get real results for injured bikers and their family.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, give us a call or contact us online for a free consultation. Our motorcycle accident lawyers are based in Wichita Falls, TX, and Lawton, OK, and we represent injured bikers throughout the surrounding communities.